Ex-Lover of Kim Jong-un Reportedly Executed by Firing Squad, Her Family Sent to Labor Camps

The ex-girlfriend of North Korean ruler Kim Jon-un has been executed by firing squad along with eleven others, an unconfirmed report in the Chosun Ilbo claims.

According to the South Korean paper, which has an estimated circulation of about 2.3 million readers, singer Hyon Song-wol was arrested on August 17 “for violating North Korean laws against pornography” and publicly executed three days later.

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New NSA leaks show how US is bugging its European allies

US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

One document lists 38 embassies and missions, describing them as “targets”. It details an extraordinary range of spying methods used against each target, from bugs implanted in electronic communications gear to taps into cables to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae.

Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. The list in the September 2010 document does not mention the UK, Germany or other western European states.

One of the bugging methods mentioned is codenamed Dropmire, which, according to a 2007 document, is “implanted on the Cryptofax at the EU embassy, DC” – an apparent reference to a bug placed in a commercially available encrypted fax machine used at the mission. The NSA documents note the machine is used to send cables back to foreign affairs ministries in European capitals.

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‘Prepare for all-out war’

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un today told his troops to be ready for ‘all-out war’ and instructed them to ‘make the first gunfire’ if tensions with South Korea boil over.

He also promised a ‘great advance’ over the border between the two nations, shortly after the North announced that it had abandoned its peace treaty with the South.

The pariah state has launched a new round of warlike rhetoric in anger over tough new sanctions imposed on it.

The UN Security council voted to impose the fresh round of sanctions targeting North Korea’s economy and leadership in the wake of the country’s third nuclear test.

Now the country has announced it is cancelling all non-aggression pacts with its southern neighbour, closing its hotline with Seoul, and shutting their shared border point.

North Korea, which has already threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the U.S., has said it will retaliate with ‘crushing strikes’ if enemies intrude into its territory ‘even an inch and fire even a single shell’.

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NKorea warns region is on brink of war

North Korea warned Friday that U.S.-South Korean plans for military maneuvers put the peninsula on the brink of war, and appeared to launch its own artillery drills within sight of an island it showered with a deadly barrage this week.

The fresh artillery blasts were especially defiant because they came as the U.S. commander in South Korea, Gen. Walter Sharp, toured the South Korean island to survey damage from Tuesday’s hail of North Korean artillery fire that killed four people.

None of the latest rounds hit the South’s territory, and U.S. military officials said Sharp did not even hear the concussions, though residents on other parts of the island panicked and ran back to the air raid shelters where they huddled earlier in the week as white smoke rose from North Korean territory.

Tensions have soared between the Koreas since the North’s strike Tuesday destroyed large parts of this island, killing two civilians as well as two marines in a major escalation of their sporadic skirmishes along the sea border.

The attack – eight months after a torpedo sank a South Korean warship further west, killing 46 sailors – has also laid bare weaknesses in South Korea’s defense 60 years after the Korean War. The skirmish forced South Korea’s beleaguered defense minister to resign Thursday, and President Lee Myung-bak on Friday named a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the post.

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SKorea Scrambles Jets After NKorea Border Attack

North Korea fired artillery barrages onto a South Korean island near their disputed border Tuesday, setting buildings alight and prompting South Korea to return fire and scramble fighter jets. At least one South Korean marine was killed and 13 wounded, the military said.

The skirmish came amid high tension over North Korea’s claim that it has a new uranium enrichment facility and just six weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il unveiled his youngest son Kim Jong Un as his heir apparent.

One South Korean marine was killed, three were seriously wounded and 10 slightly wounded, a Joint Chiefs of Staff official said.

YTN TV said several houses were on fire and shells were still falling on Yeonpyeong island, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) west of the coast. The station broadcast pictures of thick columns of black smoke rising from the island, which has a population of 1,200 to 1,300.

President Lee Myung-bak ordered officials to “sternly respond” to North Korea’s action but also called on officials to make sure that the “situation would not escalate,” according to a presidential official. He asked not to be identified, citing the issue’s sensitivity.

Lee was holding a security meeting in a presidential situation room, the official said.

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On war with North Korea’s Orwellian Kim

By: Austin Bay

Radio Free Asia (RFA) asked North Korean defectors in 2008 whether there was humor in North Korea. RFA reported they answered with a resounding yes, including this rich example:

An Englishman, a Frenchman and a North Korean are having a chat. The Englishman says, “I feel happiest when I’m at home, my wool pants on, sitting in front of the fireplace.” The Frenchman says, “You English people are so conventional. I feel happiest when I go to a Mediterranean beach with a beautiful blond-haired woman, and we do what we’ve got to do on the way back.”

The North Korean says, “In the middle of the night, the secret police knock on the door, shouting, ‘Kang Sung-Mee, you’re under arrest!’ And I say, ‘Kang Sung-Mee doesn’t live here but right next door!’ That’s when we’re happiest!”

Military, police, medics and others who work in life-and-death situations use “gallows humor” to cope. In Kim’s Korea, everyone copes using gallows humor because a literal gallows waits for them. If they get to laugh one more night, it’s a good joke.

The sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in late March is no joke, however. The North Korean torpedo that sank the ship and killed 46 sailors is a wake-up knock from a nuclear-armed police state that starves, jails and murders its own people; runs a global weapons and narcotics smuggling ring; and uses assassins, kidnappers, terrorists, ballistic missiles, soldiers and nuclear weapons to extort cash from neighboring South Korea and Japan.

Consider the record. Kim Il-Sung, who launched the Korean War 60 years ago, waged a low-level war along the demilitarized zone from 1966 to 1976. In 1983, North Korean assassins detonated a bomb in Rangoon, Myanmar, that killed 17 South Korean officials.

After his father’s death in 1994, Kim Jong-Il threatened violence during the various 1990s nuclear negotiations. This decade, Kim fired ballistic missiles and detonated a nuke. South Korea and its allies rewarded the regime’s armed tantrums with food and economic aid.

Liberal South Korean presidents dubbed it The Sunshine Policy, an outreach to North Korea’s suffering people. The policy sought to demonstrate to Kim the benefits of economic cooperation. Critics like current South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, however, argued gifts met with insistent belligerence was stupid diplomacy.

Why the torpedo attack? Three weeks ago, I suggested it might be a macabre 60th anniversary commemoration of North Korea’s attack on South Korea, one appealing to sociopath Kim, who gets his sexed-up jollies by sending commandos south to kidnap movie starlets whom he then enslaves as concubines.

Kim can’t handle real sunshine, the truth. In the 60 years since the Korean War began, South Korea has decisively defeated North Korea in the social and economic spheres. Only in military terms, in the base destructive power of Pyongyang’s large armies and nascent nuclear weapons program, does the North challenge the South. War is all Kim has.

Violence is how he controls his own people — assassination and threats of nuclear immolation are how he relates to the rest of the world.

As we enter the summer of 2010, the risk of all-out war on the Korean Peninsula is quite high and possibly the highest it has been since the armistice was signed in 1953. The armistice suspended major combat, but it is not a peace treaty.

The situation is quite serious. It’s time to end the Korean War, and that means ending the Kim regime, not placating it. That’s the message to send Pyongyang. Until South Korea and the Obama administration face that fact, the wicked joke is on us.

Examiner Columnist Austin Bay is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate.